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USB Flashlight/Flash for Captivate

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by weezilla, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. weezilla

    weezilla Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Alright guys. Yes; it's my first post, but I'll probably be around here on and off (sparsely) in the future.

    First, is there a good reason the captivate does not have a camera flash (aside from the devs thinking the night mode worked 'well enough')?

    If not: I strongly suggest we get a huge number of people to say they would be interested in buying a flashlight/camera flash add-on for the phone were someone to develop one. After we get a big enough number, we'll kindly forward it to several companies.

    I took my phone out last night for halloween, and was quite disappointed with the night quality. I'm sure something like this would be profitable at ~$6, but I would pay $10-15 to cover research costs/etc...

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  2. cadcoke5

    cadcoke5 Newbie

    I don't even have my phone delivered yet, and I am thinking about how to mod it!

    The LED mod was one thought. A surface mount LED is certainly not something that takes much space, so you would think they could have added it. Anyway, I wonder how such a flash could be triggered. I guess it could just be as simple as a LED flashlight with a physical button to hold down. I am sure the same device could be used on any phone without a flash. But, ideally it would be hacked into the device itself. Still, is there a signal line that is not already used that could be tapped into? Perhaps some abandoned line that would have triggered a flash if there were one?

    The 2nd mod I thought about was adding a prism or mirror assembly to aim the back camera towards the front.

    Perhaps the two ideas could be combined into one device.

    Joe Dunfee

    [Edit - I just was browsing another thread and saw that the Epic version does have a flash. This suggests the possibility that the basic circuitry is there on the circuit board. So, an internal mod to add a LED may just be viable]
  3. weezilla

    weezilla Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Yea, I am confused as to why they would make such a great product, and leave off something like this. Maybe it's something along the lines of: they had a general software layout for "nightmode" that would product good shots, so they developed the hardware without a flash, then found out it wasn't as good as they thought it was and couldn't go back. Or maybe they just still think it's good enough to not need a flash.

    In any case, yea, the LED mod should be simple. If I had to guess, there's no need for a microcontroller or even a chargecapacitor. I'm not holding my breath about an internal mod. Samsung would hate that. Though, it would be good if there were already built-in, unused functions for flash as a remnant of that, but I'm doubtful :(

    I didn't look at how few views this section of the forum got until after I posted it. I need to populate this to other places if I expect it to get anywhere.

    *EDIT* Could a moderator who believes in this cause please sticky this to the main forum instead of here?
  4. cadcoke5

    cadcoke5 Newbie

    It may be that the removal of a feature is done purely for marketing purposes. For example, sometimes a computer processor manufacturer will sell two versions of a chip, a higher priced one and a lower priced one. The two chips may actually be manufactured identically, but the lower priced one then gets some of the features disabled.

    This is because it can be extremely expensive to design and test a new concept. In the case of the IC Chip, the manufacturing costs are no different between two minor variations on a design. It would also cost extra to change the manufacturing shop over to the other design. So, it is cheaper to design and manufacture one version, but then after being manufactured, direct two versions to two different markets.

    Perhaps the LED flash and 2nd camera was for the "Galaxy S Pro" line.

    Joe Dunfee
  5. sremick

    sremick Android Expert

    Or, you know... just pay $2-3 for a keychain LED flashlight. It'll be brighter, smaller, cheaper, and simpler.

    Never ceases to amaze me how some people will go to the most-convoluted efforts to accomplish something. You'd think people never heard of a "flashlight" before cell phones were invented. :rolleyes:
  6. cadcoke5

    cadcoke5 Newbie

    But I haven't seen a flashlight that is really convenient to glue to my phone and use for pictures. Generally, the disk-shaped, keychain type looks like a good form factor, but the light doesn't point the correct direction. Also the buttons are pretty stiff to press, and not really located at a good spot to press both the flashlight and the "take a picture" area on the screen. Finally, the light from the flashlight is a bit too dim and not spread evenly.

    So, a custom designed camera flash is warranted.

    Perhaps the people involved with the Maker Bot [an open-source rapid prototyping machine] would be interested in this sort of project. It is not electrically complex. Since some of the concepts are coming from the publish, it is appropriate for the design to be public and shared.

    Joe Dunfee
  7. weezilla

    weezilla Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I can see where you're coming from, but I hardly think this is a "convoluted" approach at all. The benefit of spending a few hours getting something like this rolling far outweighs the cons of people being frustrated with poor night shots, or the cons of those people who do carry around an LED flashlight with them just for that end. If this is a good idea, free market will work, and we'll have a new product out that will make a lot of people happier (at least marginally).

    Joe, I'll see about contacting Maker Bot. Thanks ! Meanwhile, let's all add some friends to the facebook group to get some exponential growth going.
  8. cadcoke5

    cadcoke5 Newbie

    Here is a preliminary concept for a phone flash. It is based on one of those squeeze LED lights. The body of the flash clamps on to the phone. What is nice about these, is that there is no soldering involved. The wire leads on the LED are bent, and along with the batteries are placed inside the plastic body. When the button is pressed, it causes the LED's wire to make contact with the battery. An existing LED flashlight can simply be disassembled for the parts.

    I designed it to fit over a silicone cover of my Samsung Captivate. But, it would hopefully fit many other phones as well. I tried to keep the size as small as possible, but to allow for thicker phones, it will probably need to be made larger. See the attached image.

    I also think it should be possible to make a flash that is part of the body of the phone cover. A sliding lens cover would also be nice to incorporate. But, something like that is beyond what the Maker Bot can produce.

    Joe Dunfee

    Attached Files:

Samsung Captivate Forum

The Samsung Captivate release date was July 2010. Features and Specs include a 4.0" inch screen, 5MP camera, 512GB RAM, Hummingbird processor, and 1500mAh battery.

July 2010
Release Date

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